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Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination for gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men (GBMSM)

GBMSM are a group at high risk of HPV infection and associated disease.

There are over 100 types of HPV that infect the skin and mucous membranes (mucous membranes are the moist protective lining of body cavities and canals, for example mouth, throat, genitals and anus).  Most HPV infections do not cause any symptoms, and infections usually clear on their own.   Some HPV infections that don’t clear increase the risk of developing some cancers.

HPV types 16 and 18 cause the majority of HPV associated cancers:

  • Some mouth and throat cancers (head and neck); and
  • Some cancers of the anus and genital areas (including  penile cancers in men and cervical cancer in women and people with a cervix.

Other HPV types such as 6 and 11 cause genital warts.

In the UK, a HPV vaccine programme for girls aged 12 to 13 started in 2008 and was extended to boys aged 12 to 13 in September 2019. The HPV vaccine programme for GBMSM began in 2017. 

The risk of anal cancer in GBMSM is higher than in heterosexual men. If you also have HIV, the risk is higher again. GBMSM are also more likely to get genital warts.

The HPV vaccination programme for GBMSM offers HPV vaccination to GBMSM up to and including 45 years of age when attending sexual health clinics for sexual health services.

Other individuals at similar risk of HPV infection may be offered vaccination when attending a clinic, based on a clinical assessment. These include some GBMSM over 45 years, transgender men and women, HIV positive men who are not GBMSM, HIV positive women and sex workers.

See below for how many doses you need and when:

  • Up to age 24 - First dose only
  • From age 25-45 - First dose: Initial dose, Second dose:  At least 6 months after initial dose
  • From age 15 to 45 if HIV-positive or have a weakened immune system - First dose: Initial dose, Second dose: 1 month after the first dose, Third dose: 4 to 6 months following second dose

This leaflet provides more information:

HPV Vaccination for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM)

For more information about HPV infection is available here.


NHS 111 Wales links

Genital warts

Sexual Health Clinics


External Links

Macmillan - HPV

Patient Information Leaflet - Gardasil

Yellow Card Scheme

Last Updated: 17/02/2022 16:04:38
The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website